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Bournemouth council named and shamed for overdue charity accounts
BOURNEMOUTH council has been named and shamed for its poor record in filing accounts for the charities of which it is a trustee.
Three charities – the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, the Lower Central Gardens and the Five Parks – were among 12 that were going to be investigated because they were “double defaulters” who had failed to file their annual documents for two or more of the past five years.
But they have now been removed from the Charity Commission’s inquiry after filing their overdue accounts a week after being named and shamed.
Bournemouth council said it had struck an agreement with the Charity Commission to file all relevant documents by September 30 – a deadline it met.
However, the Charity Commission said this was only agreed on September 25 after the council was included in the list of the 12 double defaulters to be investigated.
According to the commission’s online register, the annual accounts for 2010/11, 2011/12 and 2012/13 for all three of the charities were received on September 30. The 2010/11 accounts were 608 days late, the register says.
Sam Younger, chief executive of the Charity Commission (pictured) said they would continue to target charities who were not meeting their obligations.
He said: “The Commission sends numerous reminders and regulatory advice warnings to charities in default.
“We have also been signalling our tougher approach to defaulters for over a year and have more recently issued clear public warnings to all repeat offenders to submit their annual documents.
“This latest enforcement step sends an unequivocal message that we will not tolerate charities that demonstrate contempt for the public they are accountable to by failing to meet reporting requirements.
“We know that failures in this area are often linked to wider financial mismanagement. In some cases the excuses given by the charities are frankly poor.”
Council disputes lateness
“We strongly dispute that any accounts were submitted later than agreed. We had a deadline of September 30, 2013, agreed with the Charities Commission, by which we should submit 2010/11 and 2011/12 accounts.
“This represents a one-week extension on the national deadline, and was to enable a proper audit process to be completed. This deadline was met. Furthermore, our 2012/13 accounts were submitted early. We have therefore met our obligations to the Charities Commission in the reporting of accounts as required.”
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